What did Shirdi Sai Baba say about Vishnu Sahasranama?


            What did Shirdi Sai Baba say about this Mantra?

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Shirdi Sai Baba’s belief in the Vishnu Sahasranama was tremendous. It’s clearly evident when one goes through the Chapter XXVII of Shri Sai Satcharita. Shama was a very intimate devotee of Sai Baba, and Baba wanted to favour him in a particular way by giving him a copy of the Vishnu Sahasranama as Prasad. This was done in the following way.

Once, a Ramadasi (a great devotee of Lord Ram) came to Shirdi and stayed there for some time. The routine that he followed daily was as follows :-

He got up early in the morning, washed his face, bathed and then after wearing saffron-coloured clothes and besmearing himself with sacred ashes, read the Vishnu Sahasranam (a book giving a thousand names in praise of Lord Vishnu) and the Adhyatma Ramayan (The Adhyatma Ramayan is an epic spread across 4200 double verses, and considered a treatise of Vedantic philosophy and study of Advaita (non-dualistic) philosophy. It is supposed to have provided Tulsidas (1511-1637 A.D.) the inspiration to write his seminal work the Ramcharitmanas.). The Ramdasi read these books often and often, and then after some days Baba thought of favouring and initiating Shama with the Vishnu Sahasranama.

One day, while the Ramadasi was reading the Vishnu Sahasranama, Baba sent him out on an errand. He obeyed Baba and stopped the Parayan in the middle. After the Ramdasi left, Baba took the Vishnu Sahasranam book of the Ramdasi and gave it to Shama, saying, “Oh Shama ! this book is very valuable and efficacious; so I present it to you, you read it. Once, I suffered intensely and my heart began to palpitate and my life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this book to my heart and then, O Shama ! What a relief it gave me ! I thought that Allah Himself came down and saved me. So, I give this book to you; read it slowly, little by little, read daily one name at least and it will do you good.”

Shama thought that Baba wanted to set him up against the Ramdasi by this act of His; but he had no idea of what Baba felt for him. Baba must have thought to tie this necklace of the Vishnu Sahasranama round the neck of Shama, as he was an intimate devotee, and thus save him from the miseries of the worldly existence. The efficacy of God’s Name is well-known. It is so easy and so effective. This Sadhana, Baba wanted Shama to practise, though he did not crave for it. So, Baba forced this on him. The reading and study of the Vishnu Sahasranama is a broad open way of purifying the mind, and hence Baba thrust this on His Shama.